COUNTRY OVERVIEW AND PROJECT BACKGROUND
According to the 2001 National Census, 26% of the Bangladeshi population (36 million) is between the ages of 10 and 19. Many adolescents in Bangladesh experience considerable risks to their reproductive health. For females, much of this risk results form the early age at which many women in Bangladesh marry and begin childbearing. Although males in Bangladesh typically marry after adolescence, a growing number are initiating sexual behavior during adolescence. There is a high level of unmet need for reproductive health information and services among adolescents in Bangladesh.
In the year 2000, the Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP) formed the first-ever national Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) Working Group to move adolescent reproductive health issues to the forefront of national planning. One early accomplishment of the group was conducting additional research on knowledge, attitudes, behaviors among adolescents. One of their first activities was to produce Question and Answer Booklets for adolescents.
HCP determined the need to create a comprehensive set of tools and activities that NGOs, peer educators and teachers could tap into with adolescents. The program thus evolved to focus on the following: the development of a cutting-edge ARH multi-media toolkit for a variety of audiences; community-based implementation of the toolkit; national- and local-level advocacy efforts; and mass media programming.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
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